Posted: January 8th, 2013 | Author: Cece Salomon-Lee | Filed under: Events Blog, Events Industry | Tags: 2013 trends, conventions, event trends, events, meetings | No Comments »
by kevin033 via flickr
I’ve been with ACTIVE Network for over a year now and I’ve seen the industry transform greatly. There are signs that the industry is recovering and technology will become an increasingly important facet of face-to-face meetings for 2013.
In December, ACTIVE published our own list of five trends impacting corporate events in 2013, briefly:
- Events are becoming smarter – this means that you will have even more information at your finger tips to understand the needs and wants of your constituents in real time.,
- Strategic Meetings Management (SMM) is the new business automation – With our acquisition of StarCite last year, we see new opportunities for SMM to help organizations of all sizes – large and small – get a better handle on spend management to increase savings and control.
- Consolidated event technology will provide one-stop shop for organizers – instead of purchasing point solutions that you have to integrate with one another, we believe that having a modular platform that you can plug-and-play technology as you need it will be key in 2013.
- Ensuring your audiences are engaged on multiple platforms will be the norm – mobile and tablet devices are the norm for event attendees. Leveraging these multiple, mobile platforms to extend the event will only enhance the experience for audiences.
- And finally, we’ll be able to measure the value of face-to-face interactions.
You can read the full summary here.
Additional Articles on event trends for 2013:
- Meetings & Conventions highlights the increased demand within the hospitality industry which may boost average daily and occupancy rates
- Special Events highlights that mobile technology and technology continue to expand reach of live events, while tight budgets open the door for digital enhancements.
- Smart Meetings provides their list of top trends under four categories covering food & beverage, décor, technology and industry at large.
- Jeff Hurt of Velvet Chainsaw provides his five trends from the participant’s perspective: participation economy, social sharing, content economy, smobile (social + mobile) web, and last generation sponsorship.
- Meetings Net takes the event planner’s perspective on the 5 things that planners want: location, sustainability, healthy food & beverage, team adventure and technology.
Share your 2013 event trends below.
Written By: Cece Salomon-Lee
Posted: September 26th, 2012 | Author: Irene Coghlan | Filed under: Events Blog, Events Industry, Uncategorized | Tags: conference 7.o, event technology, IMEX America, Linda Mc Nairy, Meeting Locator, mobile event technology, SMM, strategic meetings management, things to do at IMEX | 1 Comment »
Image source: http://www.visitlasvegas.com/
Looking for a good time in Vegas at IMEX America?
Aside from all of the usual Vegas delights, there will be plenty of fun things to do at the IMEX America show, which runs from October 9-11. Here are a few suggested diversions:
- Check out the latest suite of event technology that is powering and transforming events.
Stop by ACTIVE Network’s booth #2626 to find out about the latest tools including Meeting Locator , Mobile and Conference 7.0 .
- Get your hands dirty cleaning soap!
Yes, you read it right. Find out where socially conscious hotels retire their old soap! On Monday October 8th, take a tour of Clean the World’s Las Vegas Recycling Operations Center, and find out what happens to those leftover little bottles of shampoo and soap bars. Be ready for bus pickup at 1:30 on Level 1, Ground Transportation Entrance (opposite Marco Polo Ballroom), at The Venetian|The Palazzo.
- “Do” celebrate the Fab Four.
On Tuesday Oct. 9th, at the Visit England booth (#814), on what would have been John Lennon’s 72nd birthday, the Liverpool Convention Bureau will celebrate 50 years since the Beatles released their first single “Love me Do”, with a party at various times during the day: 10:00 am, 12:30 pm and 3:30 pm. Stop by and enter the “Ticket to Ride” competition to win an all-expenses-paid familiarization trip to Liverpool.
- Learn key Strategic Meetings Management (SMM) Concepts. On Thursday, October 11th , the last day of IMEX, Linda McNairy, VP of Strategic Partnerships at ACTIVE Network, Business Solutions, will be at PCMA’s booth #3048 at the Sands Expo and Convention Center at The Venetian and The Palazzo, from 11:00-11:30, speaking on:
- “15 SMM Basics in 15 minutes”
- “SMM Metrics: What’s Important. What’s Not.”
- Take a trip to the future!
On October 11th at 10:30 am, in the Press Center in the Veronese room on Level 2 of the Venetian|Palazzo, IMEX will present follow-up findings from the IMEX Group’s “Power of 10″ study, which sheds new light on what the next 10 years might have in store for the global meetings and events industry.
Read what ACTIVE Network, Business Solutions has planned for IMEX America here!
What are your recommendations for this year’s IMEX America?
Written By: Irene Coghlan
Posted: September 20th, 2012 | Author: Irene Coghlan | Filed under: Engagement Marketing, Events Blog, Events Industry, Infographics, Mobile, Social Media, Uncategorized | 3 Comments »
- 47.8% of tradeshow and event marketers spend 1-5 hours on social media marketing per week.
- 102% is the average increase of Twitter followers from businesses that start a blog
- Mobile smartphone usage is set to increase from 83.5 million users in 2010 to 142.1 million users in 2014
- 66% of users access social networking via a smartphone.
- Smartphones like the iphone and Android are increasing the opportunities to connect attendees and other tradeshow participants.
This week’s stats and infographic are brought to us from Echelon Design and Exhibitor Media Group. It provides an interesting look at some of the most widely used social media tools and their application and effectiveness in today’s event world. Please enjoy and let us know what your experience of social networking and events has been?
Please share your comments below
Written By: Irene Coghlan
Posted: July 19th, 2012 | Author: Irene Coghlan | Filed under: Events Blog, Events Industry, Infographics, Uncategorized | No Comments »
There are so many fantastic infographics out there now, we’re going to source the best and share one each week on this blog. Check out this gem from The Event Manager blog. How many of you can relate to this? What else could you add to this? Comments below please…
Written By: Irene Coghlan
Posted: July 16th, 2012 | Author: Irene Coghlan | Filed under: Events Blog, Events Industry, Features, Strategic Meetings Management, Uncategorized | No Comments »
GBTA 2012 is just around the corner. Stop by Booth #2331 and say hello to the Active Network | StarCite team. Be sure to ask them to show you the all new ‘Meeting Locator’, a nifty new tool that calculates the optimum location for your next meeting or event in terms of cost and carbon footprint.
Here’s our top picks for this year’s show.
If you haven’t enjoyed a session on Strategic Meetings Management with Kevin Iwamoto, do not hesitate any longer. Kevin is ‘The’ meetings procurement maestro and delivers his sessions with a witty punch of humor and panache that it sure to have you chuckling out loud and thinking of clever ways to pinch the pennies and manage your meetings spend within the first 5 minutes.
Get to room 157 C on Monday July 23rd at 11.45 for SMM 101: Building the Framework with Kevin Iwamoto.
Despite his fresh, handsome appearance, Anthony Miller is no spring chicken to the world of events. Indeed, he knows a thing or two about global meetings management and will have you frantically scribbling notes on smart ways to drive more revenue from your events while creating more engagement with your global event audience.
Join Anthony for his session on Global Meetings Management – The Next Frontier, on Tuesday July 24th, room 159, 10.30am-11.40
The CWT sponsored event at the Boston Symphony Hall is the place to be on Tuesday evening. With a theme like ‘Thrive in Retro’, how could you resist? This is a Mad Men-inspired 60’s night club theme that will transform one of Boston’s most beloved landmarks back to an era of glamour and style.
Get your dancing shoes on and see you for some 60’s swing on Tuesday July 24th, Boston Symphony Hall at 7.30pm
It’s not every day that we see not one, but two past US presidents in the line-up of keynote speakers for a convention such as GBTA. George Bush will host a luncheon and speaking session on Tuesday at 1.15pm but
Our pick for Wednesday July 25th is the session with Bill Clinton, Founder of The William J. Clinton Foundation 42nd President of the United States of America, which takes place from 1.45pm-3.45pm.
What sessions will you be attending at this year’s GBTA? Comment below with your recommendations.
Written By: Irene Coghlan
Posted: June 28th, 2012 | Author: Irene Coghlan | Filed under: Engagement Marketing, Events Blog, Social Media, Uncategorized | No Comments »
Written By: Guestblogger, Tara Barnes, Marketing Director at Pathable
Your event is one in a million… but that isn’t meant in a complimentary way. Your event is one thing among a million others that your attendees are thinking about on a daily basis. You need to work hard to get attendees engaged with your event’s content. You need to capture and hold their attention. And you can’t do this by throwing a couple of tweets their way and thinking that all is well.
Making sure your attendees (and potential attendees) are engaged with your event year-round takes careful planning and strategy. Each event’s strategy will be as unique as the event itself, but there are specific, well-tested tips that will get anyone started in creating their engagement roadmap.
Tip #1: Set clear, measurable goals. This may seem like a no-brainer, but goals are often overlooked. You can’t know how well your strategy has worked unless you have goals you’re trying to achieve and ways to measure if you’re meeting them. Goals will differ for everyone but might include: Increasing registration numbers, generating more website traffic, number of social media shares, etc.
Tip #2: Properly load your tool chest. You want to engage with attendees, and you think you’ve got just the right social media tools to do it with. Perhaps you do, but these need to be tools your attendees are already using, not just what your favorites are. Select your social media and communication tools carefully. Poll your attendees to see what they’re already using. It’s far wiser to use a few tools well than to manage a dozen poorly.
Tip #3: Set a schedule and stick to it. Good marketing and engagement with any audience comes from providing relevant content in a timely manner. A content schedule is an important part of an event’s engagement strategy. Once you have your communication mediums pinned down, map out your content. What do you want to be communicating to your attendees before you open registration? Just before your event? On-site? Post-event? You need to think of content through every phase of your event’s life cycle, plan out when you need to communicate it and which tools you will need to do all of that.
Tip #4: What’s in it for your attendees? A common mistake planners make when trying to engage with attendees is exclusively trying to sell what makes their event so wonderful. You don’t want to neglect that, but the central focus of a good engagement strategy is showing attendees what’s in your event for them. Focus on what they will learn at your event. Who will they get to network with? What new products and services will they learn about? Additionally, the more questions you ask attendees and the more you empower them to help shape your event, the more relevant your content will be to be to them.
Attendee engagement should be an on-going endeavor, and creating your strategy is merely the jumping-off point. Stay tuned for more posts on engagement management with tips for goal setting, choosing the right tools and ways to extend that engagement year-round.
Tara Barnes (@PathableTara) is the Marketing Director for Pathable, Inc. In addition to a background in event planning/management, Tara has extensive experience in marketing, social media, communications and public relations strategy.
Written By: Irene Coghlan
Posted: July 15th, 2011 | Author: Cece Salomon-Lee | Filed under: Events Blog, In The News | Tags: active network events, association congress, association congress 2011, attendee management software, audience engagement, business design centre, community tool, Engagement Marketing, event management software, event technology demo, events technology, membership retention, online registration system, social networking tools, technology seminar | No Comments »
We’re happy to announce that we will be exhibiting at Association Congress 2011 in London (July 18 – 19), Europe’s largest association conference. The event will be held at the Business Design Centre, 52 Upper Street, Islington – London N1 0QH.
Here is where you can find us:
- Technology Seminar presented by Banks Holcombe, Head of Sales EMEA at Active Network, Events on Tuesday at 9:15am.
- Exhibit Floor, Booth #45 – Schedule an Event Technology Demo with us or stop by to have a chat with a member of the Active team. Click here to request a technology demo.
Hope to see you in London!
Active Network | Events
Written By: Cece Salomon-Lee
Posted: July 7th, 2011 | Author: Cece Salomon-Lee | Filed under: Events Blog | Tags: active network events, audience engagement, blog, community tool, digital content, digital trends, Engagement Marketing, event mobile apps, events technology, google, hybrid event, ipad technology, mobile communications, social media, two-way communication, user generated content | No Comments »
People are digesting more and more media through the internet, so providing interesting and valuable insight on your website that’s relevant to your customers’ needs is an effective way of increasing engagement.
It also drives web traffic, builds kudos through the knowledge and expertise it demonstrates, and boosts loyalty by adding value to the online customer experience. Growing the customer-focused content on your website also helps increase search engine optimisation as it confirms relevance to search engines like Google, which view it as an online resource.
The first lesson for anyone planning a digital content strategy is that the information must be engaging and relevant to their target market and not just sales focused. For many marketers, this may require a shift in mindset.
Why do you need a content strategy?
Having a content strategy helps brands focus on what’s important to them and their target market. It means avoiding wasting valuable time and resources on content that may or may not appeal to internet users and customers. To do this, it’s important to study the target audience in question to determine what information it finds important and valuable. This can be done through a range of activities, from trial-and-error (publishing content and then tracking how many people read it), to audience surveys/focus groups and feedback through existing social media channels.
As well as making sure digital content is appropriate, a good strategy can also help with audience conversion (transforming people from being simply website visitors to customers) and so drive sales. By understanding and catering for the needs of its target audience, a website becomes relevant and appealing to customers and prospects. What’s more, using keywords that relate directly to a website’s digital content creates a more targeted resource that will optimise the visitor-to-customer conversion rate.
Understanding customers is nothing new, but being able to drive them directly to the information they want and answer their questions quickly and easily is a key benefit of digital communications. But doing this requires marketers to learn more about their target audiences than simply basic demographic data. The aim should be to develop a comprehensive picture of their interests and desires to inform the creation of a key online resource. Howard Schultz, Chief Executive at Starbucks, which has been extremely successful in social media, describes this as “breaking a code”, in order to give people opportunities to feel good about themselves. He also considers the experience of ‘discovery’ to be very important for communicating content (Harvard Business Manager Special, Oct 2010, “Managers need to reveal weaknesses”). This suggests that people are likely to be more loyal when the make their own ‘discoveries’ on the internet during the process of searching for information using a search engine like Google, than simply being directed to it.
Importantly, if a brand or business is already active in a range of social media channels, then any relevant digital content it produces – from written articles to applications and video – should be used to feed this activity, increasing and broadening audience engagement and driving more web traffic.
How can marketers do this?
Producing this kind of customer-focused digital content is not something that marketers are traditionally accustomed to. But to really engage customers and drive brand awareness, it’s important to create regular new content that promotes and encourages two-way dialogue with your audience. Doing this successfully requires techniques more usually associated with journalism. Indeed social media makes it possible for organisations to become publishers and so the line between these disciplines is becoming increasingly blurred.
It’s crucial that any content produced must also be tailored for publishing on the required channel – whether that’s a blog, Facebook page or Twitter. Employing a one-size-fits-all approach will not work in this situation, as each channel requires a different approach. Furthermore, the relevance of the topics will be a deciding factor in whether information will be shared further, or disappear without being noticed.
Tone and style also need to be clearly defined. It’s not about broadcasting advertising slogans. Building a successful content strategy revolves around creating an entertaining form of brand and sector-related reporting. It is important to remember not everyone will react to a brand, so in many cases it is better not to appear too polished and corporate.
Beyond simply generating the content, the brand’s ‘editors’ also need to ensure that they encourage community members to participate in groups and social media channels, promoting feedback. After all, the whole purpose of modern communication channels is to encourage discussion and interaction. From this feedback, brands can not only gain valuable customer thoughts and opinions about their existing products and services, but also use obtain key information that can drive future product development.
Written By: Cece Salomon-Lee
Posted: June 16th, 2011 | Author: Cece Salomon-Lee | Filed under: Events Blog | Tags: active network events, attendee management software, audience engagement, community tool, digital trends, Engagement Marketing, event management software, event mobile apps, events technology, facebook places, foursquare, gap mobile 4 u, geo location, geotagging service, gowalla, ipad technology, loopt star, mobile communications, mobile marketing, social media, waze, web 2.0, yelp | No Comments »
This week we continue our series of digital trends with a blog on Geo Location. Please leave your thoughts in the comment area, we want to hear your opinion!
One of the biggest growth areas for the internet over the past 12 months has been mobile. Having flattered to deceive for some time, mobile platforms, whether tablets or smartphones, can now play the role in our lives that many have envisaged they would. Current market penetration for smartphones stands at 25-30% in the UK and US, and that figure is predicted to grow to around 50% in the next 12-18 months in America. This means mobile devices will continue to play an increasingly important part in our lives.
There have been many technological developments in mobile recently, but probably the most powerful for brands and marketers is the growth of geo-location-based services and how these can be used to boost customer loyalty and sales.
What is geo-location?
Geo-location is the process by which your mobile phone can pin point your location using the built-in GPS (global position system) functionality that most smartphones now offer. The power for marketers comes in people’s ability to broadcast this information to their social network of friends through mobile-based applications such as Foursquare, Gowalla, Loopt Star, Facebook Places, Yelp and Waze. This process is known as ‘checking in’. But this is not just a social phenomenon, as anyone searching on Google on a mobile will be aware. By using your current location, Google can tailor its search results to wherever you are, making them more relevant to your needs, particularly if your search is ecommerce related.
How can it benefit brands?
With the check-in platforms listed above continuing to grow in popularity, consumers are sharing more location data than ever. With so many people broadcasting information about where they are, marketers can target customers when they are in the vicinity of certain shops with special offers. This allows marketers to move beyond the ‘glorified spam’ of some text and email marketing campaigns, and deliver much more relevant offers, increasing effectiveness and delivering serious return on investment.
Big brands such as Starbucks, MacDonalds, Apple and Ikea are already exploiting the potential these platforms have to offer, with the former generating up to 150,000 check-ins per week, according to research by Trendrr. Indeed, Starbucks is one of the leading lights in this arena. When the company celebrated its 40th anniversary in the US, it ran a campaign on Foursquare, which randomly awarded US$40 gift cards to customers checking in via the platform. As a further indication of how important this technology could be, Nike is currently investing more money in this channel than into its bricks-and-mortar shops.
But it’s not just the big brands that are starting to see the business benefits of geo-location. Foursquare has also been working with smaller businesses to give customers special deals and credits at their favorite merchants through their mobile phones.
Ecommerce is also set to be turned on its head by geo-location technology. With the mobile acting as the bridge between virtual and real-world shopping, the implications of geo-location are massive. Imagine being able to take a photograph of a product in a shop, submit it to Google and then be able to not just read reviews of that product, but also be directed to where else you can buy it locally and at what price. All this technology is now available for mobile searching, and it’s just a matter of time before it reaches critical mass and becomes an accepted part of our everyday shopping experience.
However, there is a key issue that marketers need to overcome concerning privacy. A survey of mobile subscribers conducted by research firm Nielsen targeted consumers who had downloaded an application within the previous 30 days, showed that more than half of them were worried about their privacy when using location-based services and check-in apps.
The key to overcoming these concerns is to offer a clear value exchange. A good example of this comes from clothing retailer Gap, which partnered with Visa to deliver Gap Mobile 4 U. Gap customers agreeing to join the programme receive text alerts of dedicated deals at their nearest store when they make a Visa card purchase within the same area code. Here there are no privacy worries, as the individual has already opted into the programme, and there is a very real exchange with consumers being offered special deals.
For many, targeted location-based interaction is the missing element in email and mobile marketing. Without it, over 90% of advertisement impressions are wasted on people who are outside a brand’s geographic area. But the real power of location-based services is that they enable brands to reach the on-the-go user, who is already in the buying mindset.
However, there are still challenges that need to be overcome on the technology front, with battery life being a key problem for location-based services. GPS can be a major drain on your mobile’s power, so phone manufacturers are likely to play a crucial role in this environment. Furthermore, a recent study by youth communications specialist Dubit revealed a lack of awareness of geo-location services among young people – the next generation of consumers.
“Britain’s young people are known for their attachment to social networks and mobile phones, so it’s surprising that only 48% of the 1,000 11 to 18-year-olds quizzed in our Direct to Youth Digital Omnibus have heard of Facebook Places, Foursquare or Gowalla,” said the company’s Head of Research, Peter Robinson.
So although work needs to be done to raise awareness among this demographic group, it also represents a great opportunity for those that can lead the youth engagement process.
What’s clear, though, is that through geo-location technology and the likes of Foursquare, social networking has finally become something valuable for bricks-and-mortar businesses. This real-world connection to social media can mean more footfall and profits for business owners, and location and mapping is likely to be one of the key mobile battlegrounds of the future.
Written By: Cece Salomon-Lee
Posted: June 9th, 2011 | Author: Cece Salomon-Lee | Filed under: Events Blog | Tags: active network events, audience engagement, bejeweled blitz, community tool, customer engagement, digital trends, EA sports, Engagement Marketing, events technology, facebook, farmville, future of social gaming, in-game advertising, information solutions group, mafia wars, social games, social gaming, social marketing, virtual events, web 2.0, wimpole farm | 1 Comment »
Today an audience wants to be engaged by brands, rather than simply sold to. Over the next few weeks we will look at five key digital trends that are driving customer engagement to the front of the marketing mind set and discuss why marketers and business leaders need to be taking them seriously.
In this blog we will look at the growth of social gaming.
As with most social media innovations, the concept of social gaming was initially considered a gimmick. But as more and more people have bought into the concept, so brands have increasingly come to see it as a viable and potentially powerful marketing channel. Indeed, according to Facebook, over 40% of its users play social games – that’s more than 200 million people. And Facebook only represents 28% of social gaming activity globally. In fact, a recent report by Inside Network, entitled Inside Virtual Goods: The Future of Social Gaming 2011, predicted that the social gaming industry will be worth US$1.25 billion in 2011.
So what is social gaming?
Social games are played on the internet by several people simultaneously, allowing real-time interaction and sharing of information online
Social networks have transformed gaming from a solo activity, to a global social experience that can be shared with family and friends. The competitive element associated with sharing achievements publicly has also been a key driver.
Social networks have allowed gaming to enter into the mainstream, and brought non-gamers into the space, crossing the gender age divide. Research by Information Solutions Group (ISG), which was conducted in 2010 among 5,000 consumers, demonstrates that social games are also played by people of all ages, with the most popular demographics in the UK being 22-29 (22%), 30-39 (25%) and 40-49 (22%). Even the over-60s are getting in on the act, accounting for a surprising 8% of UK online gamers. In the US, the situation is slightly different, with most the popular age groups being 30-39 (20%), 40-49 (20%) and 50-59 (26%). Here the over-60s account for a staggering 20% of the market.
Tapping into people’s passions to create these games is key to introducing non-gamers into the space, but the popularity of some games may be more surprising than others. Sports games are an obvious choice for developers, but few industry commentators could have predicted farming games to be as popular as they have become. The top three social games, according to ISG, are Bejeweled Blitz, Farm Ville and Mafia Wars.
At it’s peak in March 2010, Farm Ville had 83.7 million users, and in 2009 the New York Times published an article claiming that its users in the US outnumbered real-life farmers by a staggering 60:1. Demonstrating a trend like this can be used to a brand’s advantage. The National Trust in the UK, for example, is offering 10,000 Farm Ville gamers the opportunity to try out their social gaming skills for real at Wimpole Farm in Cambridgeshire (www.my-farm.org.uk), for an annual fee of £30. Every time a major decision is to be made, the farm will go online and explain what needs to be done, and the community can then vote on the outcome. This is a great example of the digital world’s growing influencing on real-life events.
So what are the opportunities for marketers?
In terms of hard, tangible metrics, social gaming has been shown to be highly profitable, thanks to the substantial revenues reaped from the sales of virtual goods and currency – 28% of game players have spent real world money on virtual currency according to ISG, with 32% purchasing virtual gifts. On top of this revenue stream, social gaming enables brands to interact with communities that are guaranteed to have a high level of engagement. Other monetisation options available include: branded content, virtual goods, in-game advertising, display advertising and lead generation.
Over the next 12 months, there’s likely to be further growth in the sector. Social games are becoming more and more sophisticated, and will continue to grow in popularity among consumers. The newest versions will see a blurring of the line between the virtual and real worlds, as developers look to create unique social experiences that tap into users’ interests and hobbies.
We are also likely to see games developers increasingly partnering with relevant brands. For example, in 2010, Playfish and EA Sports joined forces with FIFA to create football game FIFA Superstars. More recently, the developer also launched the American football game Madden NFL Superstars on Facebook. And there’s plenty more innovation in the pipeline, including a trend for brand and product placement in top-end gaming products, such as X Box and PlayStation, which through their live connectivity are becoming powerful social gaming platforms.
Written By: Cece Salomon-Lee